A lot of people think about marriage and family as something you do when you are both financially ‘set.’ My husband and I were far from having a steady income when we got married. but I’ve never regretted the life we share together.
We started our family when my husband Eric was still in school, so right from the start we had to learn how to live on less. We were aware of articles like this one from Huffington Post, where it’s estimated that just one child can cost parents as much as $15,000 a year.
So I’m sure you’re wondering, what were they thinking? My husband and I were determined to not buy into the hype about the cost of raising kids, but we know we couldn’t raise our family without each other. We both know that we are committed to each other for life, and that we will support each other through thick and thin.
We found that having a family doesn’t have to be a lot more expensive than when we had the house to ourselves. As it turns out, what worked for our budget when we first got married worked when we started having kids. We bought most things secondhand, kept vacations (when we had them) simple, used cloth diapers, and mostly cooked at home. We still do. My husband and I now have three kids, and we don’t make $45,000 a year, much less spend that amount on them.
Do we feel the sacrifice? Absolutely. My kids are not as fashionably dressed as some of the kids I see at the library. But they’re every bit as smart and curious. My baby doesn’t have a room full of bouncers and walking toys, but he’s hitting his milestones.
Our bank account is still far from cushy, but we’re investing in what matters: that our children feel safe, loved, and secure in a family where they can be sure that mommy and daddy will stick together forever.
I’ll admit, sometimes I catch myself feeling envious of my single friends’ new shoes or the getaways that our friends with only one child can afford to do. But all it takes is a glance at my little boys laughing on the floor to remind me that the sacrifice is worth it. Not only do they bring my husband and I incredible joy and purpose, but they also will have each other’s friendships for the rest of their lives. No sacrifice my husband and I make for our family feels too great for that.
I’m thankful my husband and I are able to pay our bills and meet our needs. We’re still working on our bank account, but pouring love into our marriage and our children is the best investment we’ll ever make.